Magic's past, meet Magic's future.
The legendary Kai Budde – who with his all-time best seven Pro Tour/Mythic Championship trophies defined the first decade of competitive Magic – is back. And he's ready to return to the top of the game he helped shaped – this time by firmly planting himself at the top of the game yet again with a masterful Day 1 performance.
"I've won my fair share of tournaments, but it's been almost 15 years," he grinned. "It sure would feel good to win another."
Welcome to Mythic Championship III in Las Vegas.
Top 16 is Set!
Any group that includes Budde will inevitably lead with the German juggernaut, but he was just one of 12 players on Friday to punch their ticket to the Top 16 with strong performances on Friday. Pro Tour 25th Anniversary champion Greg Orange was the first to punch his ticket to the Top 16, running off a perfect 6-0 record with Esper Control to join the four Magic Pro League division winners (Brad Nelson, Brian Braun-Duin, Ken Yukuhiro and Rei Sato) who earned byes into Day 2 with their strong MPL performances.
Not only did Orange crack the Top 16, he did so playing his favorite deck – in every format. Esper Control served him well all day, and the Pro Tour 25th Anniversary champion nicknamed the Citrus Assassin will now look to take the next step – so long as he steps around the pyrotechnics.
"Fireworks on stage was a new one for me," admitted Orange, who for this event dyed his hair, well, orange. "I'm really enjoying the experience and it's been almost a year since my last win so I figure it's probably about time for another."
The other players to qualify on Friday:
- Matias Leveratto*
- Kai Budde*
- Shota Yasooka
- John Rolf
- Simon Görtzen*
- Raphael Levy*
- Marcio Carvalho
- Jean-Emmanuel Depraz
- Kentaro Yamamoto*
- Lee Shi Tian
- Shahar Shenhar
The field of 16 is set, and it is stacked. From Hall of Famers to MPL winners to legends of the game, the Top 16 of the Mythic Championship has it all.
Leveratto Shocks the Field
Entering the Mythic Championship, there was no denying that the field was incredibly talented from top to bottom. And the Top 16 is a collection of Hall of Famers, all-time greats and the talented members of the MPL. So it's safe to say that almost no one expected Matias Leveratto – who qualified via MTG Arena – to advance to Day 2. But he did just that, impressing in his 6-1 Friday run.
But that should come as no surprise.
There are many great stories going on at #MythicChampionshipIII, but I want to tell you one in particular—about Argentine Matias Leveratto, who just qualified for the Top 16. 1/ pic.twitter.com/am7AEl2bJ6— Magic Esports (@MagicEsports) June 22, 2019
The German Juggernauts
Okay, so this nickname will always belong to Budde. But fellow countryman Simon Gortzen – himself a Mythic Championship – made this a two-man show with his own incredible run through the tournament on Friday.
Oh the Germanity! 🇩🇪 pic.twitter.com/tj3SubFk72— Magic Esports (@MagicEsports) June 21, 2019
Gortzen has done it all in Magic, from winning high-level events to providing expert commentary at them – with plenty of highs and lows in between.
But this latest chapter in his career may be the best yet. He stepped down from coverage and just weeks later won his way to the Mythic Championship as a competitor via MTG Arena. He came to this event modest expectations ("I expect to play one day and be vacation the rest," he said before the tournament), but an incredible run to the Top 16 has him rethinking those plans – and looking to add another title to his collection.
And he made it to Day 2 in style.
Race to the Top 4 is On!
The 16 players who will return to compete on Saturday know what's on the line. But this Day 2 will function slightly different than previous Mythic Championships – the 16 players will be placed into a 16-player, double-elimination bracket. The Top 4 will then advance to Sunday for a shot at the title of Mythic Champion and the $100,000 that comes along with it.